Q: In my homeowners association, the board requires each owner to clean the walks and driveways to remove mildew and other stains. They require us to use a pressure cleaner to remove the marks. This method leaves the concrete clean but removes a little of the concrete each time. A number of homes have large sections of concrete damage from the repeated pressure washings. I prefer to scrub my concrete with a stiff brush with soap and bleach. Can the HOA force me to use a pressure washer?
R.S., Winter Haven
A: If you can get the walks and drives just as clean with your method, I cannot see that the board can force you to use a pressure cleaner. Let me warn you, though, that some chemicals can harm the surface as much as if you had used a pressure cleaner.
The damage you see at your neighbors' homes probably is the result of the pressure settings. Pressure washers vary in their pressure per square inch. Some are as low as 1,600 pounds per square inch (PSI) to as high as 3,000. It is the higher setting that will take more off the surface of the concrete. If your neighbors use the higher PSI washers, they are stripping more of the concrete, and thus causing the concrete to disintegrate faster.